Vegetarian products: half contain mostly water

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A new consumer survey analyzed the composition, price, and nutritional value of these processed foods made with plant-based ingredients.

Soy fillet, cereal pancakes, soy nuggets and wheat. These products often convey a healthy image, but are still industrial and ultra-processed. And often expensive. However, as a new CLCV survey highlights, price is not necessarily a guarantee of quality.

The consumer association analyzed the composition of 95 vegetarian and vegan products from private labels or organic stores. Three categories were tested: breaded foods, those that mimic meat (such as vegetable steak), and patties. On the composition side, the results are not famous since on average these dishes do not have more than 39% of ingredients of vegetable origin. But the association points to a strong disparity between brands.

More than half (56%) of the articles tested by the association contain water as the main ingredient. Foods that imitate meat (72%) and breaded (67%) are the most affected. We found much less in pancakes.

We also note the (expected) presence of fats, spices and additives: the latter are found in 80% of the products evaluated. Despite everything, most do so with a fairly correct nutri-score (index that measures nutritional quality), especially those that imitate meat and vegetable pancakes. Breaded products work a little less well.

In general, for those who want to use these products, it is the vegetable cakes that obtain the best quality (nutritional) / price ratio.

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